Pakistanis went to the polls recently to vote for a new parliament.
Pakistanis went to the polls over the weekend to vote for a new parliament. President Barack Obama congratulated the people of Pakistan on the successful completion of these parliamentary elections.
The United States, said the President, "stands with all Pakistanis in welcoming this historic peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power, which is a significant milestone in Pakistan's democratic progress. By conducting competitive campaigns, freely exercising your democratic rights, and persevering despite intimidation by violent extremists, you have affirmed a commitment to democratic rule that will be critical to achieving peace and prosperity for all Pakistanis for years to come."
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, voter turnout was close to 60%, up sharply from 44% in 2008. International and local election observers noted that 64 people died on polling day itself and that violence had distorted the electoral process in some areas.
But observers also reported that at the vast majority of polling stations monitored, the conduct of the election was satisfactory or good. European Parliament member Richard Howitt told a news conference that "the turnout in defiance of the threats against the process was an extraordinary vote of confidence in democracy itself."
Preliminary results indicate that Nawaz Sharif's party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, emerged from the elections with a plurality of seats in the National Assembly. Official results are expected to be announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan within a few days.
The United States and Pakistan have a long history of working together. The U.S. looks forward to continuing to cooperate with the new government of Pakistan to support a more stable, secure, and prosperous future for the people of Pakistan.